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Products: Hawaii's Economy

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UHERO State Forecast Update: Hawaii on Steady Course for 2015

The Hawaii economy in 2015 will look a lot like last year’s. Tourism will see only marginal gains, but steady labor market improvement will continue, and there will be moderate income growth. While not all damage from the past recession has been repaired, by many measures economic activity in the state is returning to normal.

A summary of this forecast is available as a service to the public. For more detailed analysis, subscribe to UHERO's Forecast Project.

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Creating "Paradise of the Pacific": How Tourism Began in Hawaii

This article recounts the early years of one of the most successful tourist destinations in the world, Hawaii, from about 1870 to 1940. Tourism began in Hawaii when faster and more predictable steamships replaced sailing vessels in trans-Pacific travel. Governments (international, national, and local) were influential in shaping the way Hawaii tourism developed, from government mail subsidies to steamship companies, local funding for tourism promotion, and America’s protective legislation on domestic shipping. Hawaii also reaped a windfall from its location at the crossroads of the major trade routes in the Pacific region. The article concludes with policy lessons.

WORKING PAPER


Chamber of Commerce Hawaii: State of the Economy Presentation

Carl Bonham presented this 2014 economic recap and 2015 forecast on January 20, 2015 at an event hosted by the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii.

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The Economic Impact of Astronomy in Hawai‘i

The astronomy sector in Hawaii generates economic activity through its purchases from local businesses, its payment to its employees, and spending by students and visitors. In collaboration with the Institute for Astronomy, a survey was designed to obtain information from astronomy related entities about in-state expenditures. The collected survey data was used to estimate the astronomy sector’s total economic activity in each of Hawaii’s counties for the calendar year 2012. Following a standard Input-Output approach, we define economic impact to be the direct, indirect, and induced economic activities generated by the astronomy sector’s expenditures in the state economy, taking into account inter-county feedback and spillover effects.

Local astronomy related expenditures in calendar year 2012 were $58.43 million, $25.80 million, $1.28 million, and $2.58 million in Hawaii, Honolulu, Kauai, and Maui counties respectively. Total astronomy related spending in the state was $88.09 million. Including indirect and induced benefits and adjusting for inter-county feedback and spillover effects, the astronomy sector had a total impact of $167.86 million statewide. The largest impact was found to be in Hawaii County ($91.48 million), followed by Honolulu County ($68.43 million). Impacts were found to be relatively small in Maui County ($5.34 million) and Kauai County ($2.61 million). In addition to contributing to output, astronomy activities generated $52.26 million in earnings, $8.15 million in state taxes, and 1,394 jobs statewide.

PROJECT REPORT


UHERO Brief: An Economic and GHG Analysis of LNG in Hawaii

Hawaii currently meets the majority of its electricity needs through oil-fired generation – causing rates to be nearly four times the national average. In response to rising oil prices and in line with State-led action combating climate change, Hawaii is aggressively pursuing alternative sources of energy for its electric sector. Hawaii’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) states that utilities must meet 40% of electricity sales with renewable sources of energy by the year 2030; however, the remaining 60% can come from fossil fuels. Lower natural gas prices as a result of the “shale gas revolution” is in part why the State and key stakeholders are deliberating importing large amounts of natural gas in liquefied form (liquefied natural gas or LNG) for use in the electric sector.

This study builds upon past Hawaii-based LNG studies and extends the analysis by assessing both the macroeconomic and electricity sector impacts of using natural gas for power generation. We draw upon two recent studies, by Facts Global Energy (2012) and Galway Energy Advisors (2013) for price estimates. In addition to economic outcomes, this study estimates GHG emissions impacts as well as qualitatively discusses other environmental impacts related to the extraction of natural gas.


UHERO BRIEF

 

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The Growing Importance of Tourism in the Global Economy and International Affairs

For tourism-dependent countries and destinations, tourism’s share of GDP can exceed twice the world average. Today, international tourism receipts exceed $1 billion per year in some 90 nations. Worldwide, domestic tourism is typically several times larger. Tourism truly has become a global economic and social force.

- by Carl Bonham and James Mak

Full Published Article: Bonham, Carl, and Mak, James. "The Growing Importance of Tourism in the Global Economy and International Affairs." Georgetown Journal of International Affairs. Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, 22 July 2014.


Are Hotel Property Taxes Fully Passed on to Hotel Guests?

Recent research on the excise tax effects of the property tax in small, multi-sector open economies suggests that the property tax may not be fully forward shifted to consumers as previously believed. I adapt this analysis to examine whether local hotel property taxes in Hawaii are fully passed on to hotel guests as lawmakers had intended. We conclude that full forward shifting is unlikely. I argue that an excise/sales tax on hotel occupancy is preferable to the property tax as a tourist tax.

WORKING PAPER


The Impact of Marriage Equality on Hawai′i’s Economy and Government: An Update After the U.S. Supreme Court’s Same-Sex Marriage Decisions

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions in the two same-sex marriage cases have substantially increased the short-term and medium-term benefits that could accrue to Hawai‘i if the Hawai‘i State Legislature enacts legislation allowing same-sex marriages to begin in Fall 2013 or early in 2014.

RESEARCH PAPER


Sumner La Croix on PBS Hawaii Insights: Is Hawaii Losing Its Middle Class?

Is Hawaii losing its middle class? Paradise comes at a price, with rising food and housing costs, a challenged public school system and few professional opportunities in a tourist-driven economy. UHERO's Sumner La Croix joins Malia Mattoch and guests on Insights on PBS Hawaii to discuss how these issues impact the islands' middle class residents. 

WATCH


The Economic Impact of the University of Hawai'i System

The University of Hawai‘i (UH) generates economic activity through its purchases from local businesses, its payment to its employees, and spending by students and visitors. This report estimates UH’s total economic activity in the state of Hawai‘i in fiscal year 2012. Following a standard approach, we define economic impact to be the direct, indirect, and induced economic activities generated by the university’s spending in the state economy.

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Hawaii Economists Consider Impact Of Minimum Wage Increase

Two proposed bills in the legislation have the support of Governor Abercrombie, and could bump up Hawaii current minimum wage to $8.75 an hour. HPR's Molly Solomon reports on the potential impacts. 

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Brief: Should we increase Hawaii's minimum wage?

A higher minimum wage is unlikely to accomplish the stated goal of raising the living standards of the working poor. And given Hawaii’s highly service oriented economy, the negative impact of an increased minimum wage may have a larger impact than in other states.

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The Impact of Same-Sex Marriage on Hawai‘i’s Economy and Government

This report provides quantitative and qualitative measures of the impact of same-sex marriage on Hawai`i’s economy and government. We find that marriage equality is likely to lead to substantial increases in visitor arrivals, visitor spending, and state and county general excise tax revenues. We estimate that fewer than 100 spouses will be added as beneficiaries to public and private employer-provided health insurance plans. The size of the gains from marriage equality depends critically on upcoming rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court on the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act.  

WORKING PAPER

 

 


UHERO State Forecast Update: Tourism Shines, Construction Clouds Lifting

 

Hawaii’s tourism juggernaut powers onward, but growth elsewhere remains elusive. Broader—and a bit stronger—expansion is in the pipeline.

A summary of this forecast is available as a service to the public. For more detailed analysis, subscribe to UHERO's Forecast Project.

 

 

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Economic Impact of the NELHA Tenants

 The Natural Energy Laboratory Hawaii Authority (NELHA) contracted the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization (UHERO) to estimate its economic impact on the State of Hawaii. NELHA currently accommodates 41 tenants ranging from companies bottling deep sea water to solar and biofuel companies. These tenants pay close to $4 million in rent, royalties and pass through expense directly to NELHA. In addition, they employ hundreds of people, purchase goods and services from local businesses, and invest in capital improvements at NELHA.

PROJECT Paper


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